Anger is an emotion that accompanies us every day. At the same time, it is a feeling that we cannot quite cope with or event we often do not want to feel it. It may seem to us that anger is "bad" and destroys relationships. Things get even more complicated when we see our child getting angry. It is worth remembering, however, that it is good to make room for anger in your life and in your child's life. With proper direction, this emotion can enrich us and deepen our understanding of our own internal states.
1. When does a child feel angry?
Anger like any emotion gives a child information about what is happening to him at the moment. It shows that its needs or desires have been frustrated. It may also appear if the child feels that his boundaries have been violated. What's more, this feeling carries a huge load of energy that we can use to change the situation.
2. Why is anger important?
It is very important to accept anger as part of a person's emotional life and feel it is needed. It's often the wrong way of expressing anger what causes trouble. That is why, instead of punishing for the emotion itself, it is so important to show a child how this feeling can be expressed. By not accepting the anger, we deprive ourselves of access to a lot of information about what is happening to us. 3. What hides under anger?
It is worth remembering that very often children show anger but underneath other emotions are "hidden". Let's observe and talk to children how they feel. A small child does not yet have to name his feelings correctly. It is worth adding that we often feel more than one emotion at a time. The role of an adult is to be emotionally present and have a conversation with a child, e.g. “I think that what you feel is anger/sadness etc”. You can use an example from your life or share how you would feel in a child's situation. Tell a child what you feel and how you are trying to deal with it.
4. Anger at Home
Staying at home all the time, combining online work with online learning, isolation from friends and school bring a lot of frustration. Another difficulty is the inability to react to emotions in the open air. The lack of existing tasks and routines, as well as the excess of new duties, can make children angry. The inaccessibility of an adult who has to deal with other matters can be frustrating. It is worth noting that staying with the same people in a limited space can also be frustrating.
5. Why is the child angry?
In order to deal with the angry child, it is necessary first and foremost to search for the cause and diagnose the situation. The next steps and the conscious choice of response depend on an adequate and quick assessment of the situation. Below are three types of situations where a child may feel angry:
6. What not to do?
When talking about how to deal with a child's anger in four walls, you should also pay attention to what we should not do when the child is angry.
7. Ways to get angry in four walls
The smaller the children, the greater the need to respond to emotions through the body, through movement. In the current situation, however, this is hampered by many possibilities. 5 of them underneath:
Source: Own picture; Illustration of the anger created by students during pedagogical therapy classes
Book suggestions that can be an incentive to talk about anger:
1. Billy is angry, Birgitta Stenberg, Mati Lepp
2. Franklin has a bad day, Paulette Bourgeois
3. Lotta from Rowdy Street, Astrid Lindgren
Anna Zdolska-Wawrzkiewicz, psychologist
Michalina Ignaciuk, pedagogue
Bee H., Psychologia rozwoju człowieka
Sunderland M., Mądrzy rodzice
Wnęk-Joniec K., Dziecko idzie do przedszkola – cykl artykułów,
Much attention has recently been devoted to the dangers of children's excessive use of digital devices and the Internet. Parents have expressed doubts about the use of new technologies in education. However, these tools become part of school realities, the robotics or computer science classes, online contact with teachers, through e-mail correspondence. New technologies in education have developed quite dynamically and were more or less needed. The regulation of 20 March 2020 made using them an obligatory two-way medium and the only possible form of communication between the teacher and the student.
1. Age of the child and use of mobile devices
Parents very often have doubts about when to allow their children to use digital devices. They are looking for reliable sources of information and guidelines, unfortunately, these change every year, due to the dynamics of the development of new technologies and the equally dynamic development of young people. It is worth remembering that recommendations are standardized and not personalized. Therefore, the development phase and the individual nature of the circumstances should be taken into account when deciding on the child's participation in the digital world.
Most experts advise that toddler up to 3 years old do not use mobile devices at all. Educational programs aimed at children under 3 years old have questionable cognitive value, as children, they do not transfer the perception of digital images to a pool of experiences in the real world. For children between 3 and 6 years old, it is recommended to use mobile devices a maximum of 20 minutes per day. Research confirms that even interactive programs (more effective than passive viewing) are not as effective as experiences and interactions in the real world. For 6- up to 9-years-olds, we can extend this time by adapting to the needs and psychophysical abilities of the child. This is the moment when a child enters school life, which very often involves receiving his first phone. This is particularly important now that teaching takes place in remote form, and the use of mobile devices becomes almost daily and, in a sense, the student's duty. Quality of the time spent with the mobile device for your child is more important than quantity.
2. How do I know if an app or game is suitable for our child?
Once parents decide that a child can use technology, another question arises – which specifically? The problem is not to find and acquire a new application or game, but the challenge may be to choose the right one, taking into account the age of the child, their needs and development opportunities. In online stores, all games and applications have markings specifying the age group to which the proposed content is intended.
In Poland, we have the European System of PEGI rating, Pan European Game Information. The system was introduced, among other things, to help parents consciously make decisions about acquiring games. Below there are PEGI ratings and a detailed description of the classification. It is worth reviewing this rating before deciding to acquire a new game or app.
3. How to properly use mobile devices
Remote learning is currently obligatory – which means the use of computers, tablets or smartphones is necessary. It is therefore worth remembering the issues related to the proper use of them:
4. Family rules for using mobile devices
In the years 2015-2016, a research was conducted by the University of Gdańsk and the Foundation “Mój Z@sięg” surveying 22,000 people between the age of 12 and 18. The results show that
60.6% of respondents do not have any rules at homes related to the use of smartphones and the internet.
Below are simple examples of the principles that can be introduced from now on to the daily life of the family. The rules should be established by the whole family. These days particularly, obeying rules in cases of both home office and remote learning is equally important.
5. Monitor time activity
Along with your child, you both can research how much of the time is spent to which activities. Make sure that this is not a way to control your children’s use of the device, but to verify the time allocations between various apps and overall device activity, not excluding parents from this process. This will make you aware of your child's time spent on your mobile devices. The results can be very rewarding for the child, because it may turn out that a large part of the time spent on a computer, tablet or smartphone your child devotes to remote learning tasks such as: lessons with teachers, homework or seeking answers. Here are some apps that can help you do this:
-Rescue Time is a program that runs in the background on a computer or mobile device; it measures the time spent on individual pages and applications.
-My Minutes is an application that helps you set goals and achieve them regularity; it informs you when the activity is due or when the task has been completed.
Michalina Ignaciuk, pedagogue
Brzózka-Złotnicka I., Jaworski K., Żelazowska K., (2018), Rodzinny przewodnik po cyfrowym świecie,
Dębski M. (2017), Nałogowe korzystanie z telefonów komórkowych. Szczegółowa charakterystyka zjawiska fonoholizmu w Polsce. Raport z badań. Gdynia, dostępne na http://dbamomojzasieg.com/publikacje-raporty/
Pyżalski J. (2017), Małe dzieci w świecie technologii informacyjno-komunikacyjnych,
Yalda T. Uhls (2016), Cyfrowi rodzice – dzieci w sieci.
The recent days have given us a lot of stress due to the dynamically changing situation and WHO updating the coronavirus pandemic. Our everyday lives suddenly changed. Educational and shopping centres were closed. Parents were obliged to stay at home with their children and at the same time had to face a great challenge, integrating remote work with their children's remote education. There is no doubt that the restrictions that have been introduced are necessary, which does not change the fact that our constant rhythm and rituals were suddenly changed, and thus our sense of security was disturbed, and the question may appear in our minds: how long will this last and what will happen next?
We can make many suppositions about the future, but will these help us deal with the new situation? It is definitely worth preparing for the next changes and possible restrictions. It is important that we keep the balance between common sense, calmness and a rational approach to the new situation.
What can help us then? Plans. Daily schedules, weekly schedules. Predictability makes us feel more secure and we have a sense of control over our lives. We have no influence on some issues, but they are things that we can and even should do, make it work better. Helplessness is one of the most difficult states that a person must face because it leaves us with a feeling that we have no influence on anything. In any situation, however, much depends on ourselves and our approach to it. It is worth trying to look from a different perspective, looking for new opportunities, verifying priorities, freeing new resources.
Let's start with the daily plan. Until recently, the lives of most of us followed a certain, rather stable pattern. However, what was obvious until recently has now ceased to apply. We are currently experiencing a situation in which we need to adapt to new, temporary conditions. You need to create a new plan. Think about what tasks we have, responsibilities to be fulfilled, what conditions they require (whether they must be carried out at a certain time of the day, or can be at any time), including people who require constant care and supervision (e.g. small children). It's best to write everything down on a piece of paper. We also need to evaluate our resources - the number of people at home, their availability (whether they work or study remotely, how much time they need to do it, and how much time they have leftover). You may need to share the care of the youngest family member with another adult, determine the scope of household responsibilities, take advantage of mutual assistance in carrying out larger tasks. An interesting idea may be to divide the apartment/house into different zones, e.g. work zone (where silence applies), play zone, relax zone. Nothing prevents the work area from being transformed in the afternoon, e.g. into a relaxation area, where you can relax from the noise with gentle music. Exceptional conditions require exceptional solutions.
It is very important to wake up preferably at the same time every day, which on the one hand will give us a sense of stability, and on the other hand, we will have a better chance of accomplishing all the tasks that we must fulfil. It turns out that the other aspects of our lives - the tasks we have to accomplish – remain the same, only the circumstances have changed and force us to act differently. We should also remember that our body copes more effective with challenges when it has a constant rhythm and the appropriate proportions of time spent on work, rest and sleep.
Plan of the week. We don't have to all things immediately, but to remember about them, it's good to include them in your weekly plan. To make it easier to control everything and to make the plan of the week more clear, you can write/draw, e.g. in the form of a mind map, divided into days, tasks, responsibilities for each family member, etc. You can create a command point (children will probably gladly engage in such activity), where all-important for the family conversations and decisions will be made. Thanks to the weekly plan, we can avoid at least some unpleasant surprises, like skipping an important task, when someone finds that his tasks are less important than others. When we are including children in creating our plan, listening to what they have to say, their needs and ideas, we certainly give them several important messages: you are an important part of our family, we take care of you, we respect you, we have a common plan and we will implement it, and if needed we will modify it together. Such cooperation may turn out to be an interesting way of spending time, can create an opportunity to get to know each other better and experience some new circumstances together. Staying in such dialogue may also reduce the level of anxiety of children (who will see that adults know what to do, they don’t panic, they look for solutions) as well as for adults (because they will create space and the opportunity to carry out tasks resulting from fulfilling various roles - parent, employee, supervisor, husband, wife, child, etc.).
It is important to check the current situation, which is now changing dynamically because it has a direct impact on our lives. However, we should rely only on trusted facts, avoid tracking the content provided by portals that spread unverified information, often of a gossip nature. Such content can be harmful to us. Awareness of changes and challenges that await us will help us to face the new situation. The anxiety can be as well transformed into a constructive mobilization of our energy and resources.
What is worth remembering in the upcoming days and weeks is to be more forgiving towards yourself and your loved ones. Difficult times triggers difficult emotions, which we are not always able to control enough. However, we should keep remembering the magical power of the words 'I'm sorry' and 'I need you'. Let's be together, support each other and look for good solutions together.
Agnieszka Bystra-Grabowska, psycholog
Urszula Rodzik, pedagog
Katarzyna Topór, psycholog
In the current situation, many of us experience various difficult emotions. One of them is anxiety which appears as a natural reaction of the body to a threat. And although anxiety is perceived as something destructive and negative, as emphasized by Dr Ewa Pragłowska (doctor of humanities, a specialist in clinical psychology, psychotherapist and supervisor of psychotherapy), it is also a "life-giving emotion". It might have a constructive effect because it makes us make rational decisions and strategies that are supposed to protect us, e.g. we stay at home, we follow the recommendations to avoid infection. On the other hand, it is also natural that our body tries to return to a state of relative balance because prolonged stress can adversely affect, among others, cortisol levels which in the case of persistently high levels weakens our immune system. Many people are therefore looking for answers on how to reduce anxiety, which is felt as a strongly unpleasant emotion, especially if it is accompanied by other additional emotions such as sadness (e.g. due to prolonged isolation and inability to spend time with loved ones), longing (for past activities, family), anger or anxiety about the future (e.g. for a job). All this means that we want to push away unpleasant feelings as far as possible. While it is not possible to consciously cut off our emotions (and it would not even be beneficial in the long run) you can try to "tame" the emotions felt and reduce the level of anxiety you experience. Below are suggestions that can help with this.
Let's remember that how we deal with anxiety will also affect our loved ones. It is not without reason that emotions are said to be contagious. This is especially true for children who are largely influenced by the parents’ mood. If a child sees that a parent uses constructive mechanisms to deal with anxiety then in parallel it will also be easier for him or her to use available resources.
Remember, however, that we do not have to pretend to loved ones that it is not difficult for us. The real situation we are in is unique and maybe very aggravating. Recognizing its seriousness and naming things will help us and our loved ones cope with it or at least allow to better understand our reactions. Talking and dealing with fear is much more important than saying "don't worry" or "don't be afraid". It is worth confronting what we are afraid of and thus makes the situation real.
It is also worth noting that being in quarantine and far from our previous life may make us lose a proper perspective of time. We may feel that what’s "here and now" will last forever with no space left for thinking about a better future. It seems extremely important for the sentence spoken by Dr Ewa Pragłowska to resound:
"Now we have been deprived of part of our lives, our everyday lives. It is very difficult, but it is so that we can have this life later. That we could enjoy it and use it safely. That condition which is now is just a moment. "
Karolina Muszyńska - psychologist
Anna Zdolska-Wawrzkiewicz - psychologist
Sudden closure of schools can be a real revolution for/to the whole family. The first days are an effort associated with a new organization and gradually getting used to reality. Over time the question may arise: how to adequately encourage a child so that learning is not only a chore but an interesting adventure. At the same time when basic activities are suspended (no lessons at school, extra activities, contact with peers, limited ability to be outside) our children spend more and more time online. For an adult, the Internet is both a source of information and a work tool. It is much more complicated with children and teenagers. It is not only a medium providing knowledge and entertainment. The Internet is a place where part of his/her social life takes place, where he/she creates his image and observes others. People popular on the web are increasingly affecting attitudes and children's behaviour. It is important for adults to be in contact with their child, being interested in their activity in the virtual world.
What can be helpful while studying at home?
Depending on the development stage and student’s level of education a different motivation system is needed. Small children need more help from adults and accompaniment(companionship?), the real presence of a parent. In turn, a teenager with more experience in the "world of education" may be able to work more independently, motivate himself to perform tasks. It should be remembered, however, that both groups, especially without the structure that the school gives, are very susceptible to the distraction of "doing something else".
The initial stage of education
A studying teenager
Irresponsible sharing of electronic devices with children can be dangerous. Let us remember, however, that the use of mobile devices by children from the age of 3 can also have a positive impact on their cognitive, social, emotional, and moral development.
Digital technology means that thanks to mobile devices, every teenager who has a smartphone is constantly logged into the Internet. On the Internet teenagers discuss, maintain relationships with close and distant friends, shop, learn, participate in video lessons, and express themselves. These, often attractive and valuable opportunities for spending time, however, can absorb too much of it, and instead of being a complement to activity begin to dominate in the life of a teenager.